One morning while I was in prayer, the Lord called me a hypocrite. Ouch! When I inquired as to why, He answered, "Because you rally people to pray for your city, even for your mayor, but you despise where you are." The Lord continued, "You are mad at the city. You have despised the land. It should be the powers and principalities that are ruling over it that you should be dealing with!"
The circumstances that brought me to Lakeland, Florida, back in the 1980s were not ideal. Choices I had made resulted in years of lost dreams, a broken heart and the overwhelming disappointment from unanswered prayers that I encountered there. Honestly, I had been looking for a way to board the next train out of town. "Maybe Texas or Virginia will be better," I pondered. "Just get me out of here," became the cry of my heart to the Lord. I wanted to run as far away from this place as possible. In my heart I wanted no part of it. My hurts dictated my attitude.
There I was, an ordained minister travelling throughout the state and the U.S. leading worship and prayer meetings, while holding resentment toward my own city at the same time. Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? Yet it was true. I had to come to terms with my sin. Right there in that moment, I chose to die to my self-justified accusations against my city. I repented for despising the land God created. I had to ask Him to forgive me for hating the city I lived in. I had to accept the fact that the Lord ordered my steps, and I was there for a reason. What I thought I wanted had to die. At that moment, I chose not only to reside here but also to invest my time and prayers into the success of my city.
Let's get one thing straight: We cannot go to war for something we don't believe in. Today's common church mentality is to tolerate this earthly life until we get to heaven because the world's final destination is doom and destruction. This is not God's mandate for the church. We were saved to take dominion. We must search our heart and get clear of any resentment, judgment or curses we have spoken over our city, nation, business, family or church. If we do not do that, chances are our motives for praying will be tainted. We must come to terms with the fact that "The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it" (Ps. 24:1). We were born and placed in our territory for such a time as this. We are called to exercise dominion where God has planted us on this side of eternity.
Are we willing to die for our cities? How about our churches? What about our government? Jesus was willing to lay down His life for the cause of the kingdom—are we? There is a cost to walk this walk. The price is everything. We will know when we've come to this place. Until we get here, we must be aware of our heart motives in battle. You see, if we lay down our lives for our cities, then we no longer filter our prayers and actions through our own desires. Our eyes and ears will be tuning to the Lord, and we will pray and do what He is doing on the earth. It's no longer prayers that demand our will be done. Our prayer lives will declare, "Lord, Your will be done!"
Revelation 12:7-11 says:
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was there a place for them in heaven any longer. The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death."
As a believer of Jesus Christ, we must know that the blood of the Lamb redeems us. Jesus paid the ultimate price of redemption for us with His life. He became the sacrificial Lamb who took away all of our sins. Couple this truth with our own personal stories of salvation, and our willingness to die for the kingdom's cause will overcome the work of the accuser of the brethren in our midst. In Jesus and His finished work of redemption we live!
Listen to this episode of Occupying Force with Richard and Kimberly Wilson on the Charisma Podcast Network to learn more about falling in love with your city.
Want more? Check out the Wilsons' book Preparing for Battle: Developing the Lifestyle of a Victorious Prayer Warrior.
Richard and Kimberly Wilson, executive directors of Watchmen Arise International, serve as corporate trainers of societal transforming Christians. Together they co-host the Occupying Force podcast, co-authored Preparing for Battle: Developing the Lifestyle of a Victorious Prayer Warrior (available in Spanish), Victorious Prayer Warrior Bootcamp Online Train the Trainer Intensive and Societal Transformers Bootcamp. They are popular speakers who activate regional teams and individuals alike in the areas of spiritual management, civil engagement and transformed communities. To find out more about the Wilsons and interactive online training opportunities visit watchmenarise.com.
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